Thursday, January 08, 2009

VA's Biotech Billionaire to Support McAuliffe (D) for Governor

Virginia Biotech Titan R.J. Kirk Talks about his support for Democrat Terry McAuliffe's race to be the next Governor of Virginia. Excerpts from the WaPo story...

McAuliffe's Prowess As Fundraiser Grabs Spotlight in Va. Race

Virginia is a state with no limits on how much an individual, corporation or union can donate to a candidate running for state office, and some say McAuliffe could wage an $80 million campaign -- triple what Kaine spent four years ago -- if he is the Democratic nominee.

Already, McAuliffe is showing what's possible. Consider the courtship of Randal J. Kirk, a billionaire who has long been one of the biggest political donors in the state.

Brian J. Moran of Alexandria and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath, two Virginia Democrats running for governor, spent years wooing Kirk. But in mid-October, a newcomer to the Virginia political scene, McAuliffe, stopped by Kirk's Radford home to chat up his own potential bid.

Kirk, who has given Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) $660,000 since January 2006, had not met McAuliffe before. Yet they got along so well during their three-hour lunch that Kirk broke out the moonshine.

"I wanted him to know where he was," Kirk recalled.

During their meeting, McAuliffe did not ask Kirk for a campaign contribution. But McAuliffe made such an impression that Kirk did something a few weeks later that he said he had not done before: He called McAuliffe and pledged his support in advance of a contested primary.

"He has an astonishingly strong personality," said Kirk, a biotech and investment mogul. "When you meet someone, you often get a gut feeling whether this is an integrated personality. Are they the same with Joe Blow as they are with me? To me, this guy just seems utterly consistent."

"When I hire a chief executive, it helps his chances if he has a lot of contacts within the industry we want him to work," Kirk said. "Virginia is a business."

Whole story is here.

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